comments_image Comments

10 New Mind-Blowing Discoveries

You have to read it to believe it -- here's 10 crazy things the world learned this week.

Continued from previous page


But the weirdest case, by far, was when the voice of former "Entertainment Tonight" host Mary Hart  caused a 45-year-old woman to have seizures.

There are several politicians that automatically make me throw stuff at the TV screen so I know exactly how she feels.  

5. Sound’s effects

Speaking of noise, researchers at UCLA have found that dissonant music -- the music from Psycho’s shower scene  is used as an example -- brings about such a strong reaction in people because it evokes the sounds of animals in distress, Science Daily reports.

Daniel Blumstein, one of the study authors, had previously worked with a team of researchers studying film scores of four genres and found that horror films “had more screaming females and distorted sounds. The researchers were even able to detect recordings of animal screams in some scores,” SD says.

In this study Blumstein worked with Greg Bryant of UCLA and composer Peter Kaye, who composed 10-second musical pieces with synthesizers of several types. The control (which you can hear  here) was emotionally neutral while the other was calm and then " broke into distortion , like Hendrix did at Woodstock.” Undergraduate students were asked to listen to the music and report their levels of arousal and whether their emotions were positive or negative. The distorted music was rated as more exciting but also “charged with negative emotion.”

“The researchers believe the effect of listening to music with distortion is similar to hearing the cries of animals in distress, a condition that distorts animals' voices by forcing a large amount of air rapidly through the voice box.

"This study helps explain why the distortion of rock 'n' roll gets people excited; it brings out the animal in us," said Bryant.

The effect was somewhat altered when paired with non-evocative images; in those cases people found the music less arousing but the emotions more negative.

So maybe that’s why I get so worked up and irritable when I’m assaulted by a skull-rattling car stereo bass that sounds like a tuba trying to work its way through an elephant’s colon. I thought I was just old.

6. Finding NEEMO…online

That’s another good reason to want to go to outer space: it’s quiet.

It’s quiet under the ocean, too, and that’s where NASA is having its practice session for future asteroid exploration, which you can follow on Facebook and a slew of other social and educational media as listed by Alan Boyle of MSNBC’s Cosmic Log . NEEMO 16 (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) will “ simulate the logistics associated with an extended space mission, as well as the isolation, by sending an astronaut crew into the Aquarius,” the world’s only undersea research station, “and have them practice the routines they'd be doing in scuba gear.”

Last year’s NEEMO 15 was the first to work with NASA’s plan to get to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025. This year’s crew is furthering that research by communicating using the time delays “to reflect the light travel times that would be involved with a deep-space mission” and how to explore the negligible-gravity surface of an asteroid. NASA calls the undersea environment “a simulated microgravity environment ” on its cool and informative NEEMO 15  Web site.

You can see the Aquarius research station here -- it’s “situated three and a half miles (5.6 kilometers) off Key Largo on a sandy patch of seafloor sitting next to spectacular coral reefs.”

If they’re trying to sell me on a condo when the ocean floor is colonized I’m in. 

See more stories tagged with: